One of the stories I tell in my book is about being grateful and I thought just before the Thanksgiving weekend it would be good to share it again.

Traveling home on a cold delayed flight I was catching myself focusing on the 10%s. I was at the end of a long traveling schedule and feeling a little weary. We arrived home in freezing cold weather to late luggage and a half an hour wait for a taxi. Though I was chanting 90% …90% in my head, I was feeling sorry for myself as I stood one of the last people in the airport waiting for a ride. I could see the  taxi driver smiling as he pulled up to the airport. He jumped out and carefully loaded my suitcases in his car. His energy was infectious. We exchanged the usual pleasantries. I wasn’t really in the mood for talking (very unlike me – just ask my husband!) but I wanted to know more about this happy man on this dark cold night.

He told me how he had just moved to Canada with his wife and their four children. He went on and on about how lucky he was to have found his job and how blessed we are to live here. He told me funny stories of his children seeing snow for the first time. They had rented an apartment and he raved about how lucky we are to have homes of our own. He told me his parents would join them next year. When I asked if he would need to rent a house instead of the apartment for extra room, he seemed shocked at the idea. He said with sincerity “oh no, we have plenty of room for everyone.”
As we pulled up to our middle class house he sat back and said, “Wow, you live in a palace – you are a lucky woman.” I gave him an extra big tip and crept into my sleeping house.
I sat quietly on the bench at the front door and took a minute to Focus on my 90%s. I have a job that I love. I get to travel; some people have never been on an airplane. I live in a safe beautiful city, however cold, to raise our children in. Our house, though older – is our house, even a palace to some. My health, something I never take for granted. I have a healthy sleeping family to come home to. I went into their rooms and kissed their sleeping faces.

It is easy to slip sometimes and focus on the 10%s, what we don’t have, what we wish we had and start to feel sorry for ourselves. It is wonderful how God always puts someone in my path during those times to remind me of what is really important and how grateful I should be.

What are you grateful for? Stop and take a deep breath right now and reflect on your 90%s.

Another amazing Matthew Kelly “Raising Amazing Children” idea

Another amazing Matthew Kelly “Raising Amazing Children” idea is to not respond to your children with a yes or a no. Instead, he challenges us as parents to ask them, “What do you think?”

When my son asks, “Mom, can the four neighbour boys jump on the trampoline with me?” I would usually bark a very emphatic,  No way – someone will get very hurt!”  Matthew challenges me to say, “John, do you think it is a good idea to have five boys on a trampoline … in the rain?”

Trampoline fun!

Trampoline fun!

I have been doing this a lot lately as I am very good at yes and no responses.  It has been very interesting to let our children figure out what is right and wrong for themselves. I am not saying it goes well all the time or that I don’t resort back to yes and no once in a while.

Matthew says it starts to create children who think for themselves.  I really like that. Wish me luck!

A great idea on how to raise amazing children.

I am listening to my “raising amazing children” CD by Matthew Kelly and he shared many great ideas on how to raise amazing children and here is one:

5 practical ways to build family spirituality

5 practical ways to build family spirituality

You need to be able to say sorry to your children.  This I have been very good at over the years but Matthew added another layer to that. He said when you say sorry, just say, “I am sorry I raised my voice at you.” The key is not to add why you raised your voice.  He says that if we say, “I am sorry I raised my voice at you but I wouldn’t have to do that if you listened to me”, then you are taking away the sorry part.  He explains that by adding the, “ I yelled because….”  piece at the end, you do not show them that you really care.

Very interesting. I have been practicing hard at not doing the add-on pieces.  It is hard at first.

Try it. It is amazing how many times we apologize to those we love (and even those we don’t) and then add a piece on that almost justifies our behaviour.  Try the power of just saying, “ I am sorry for how I acted.”  Own it.